Ask The Pastor

How Can One Become Saved?

 

The focal point of salvation is Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ no sinner can be saved. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

 

How Does One Become A Christian?

 

Plenty of opinions abound in answer to this question. Some say that living a moral life makes a person a Christian. Others declare that joining a church or being baptized makes a person a Christian. Still others call for a person to “make a decision” or “pray the prayer” or “ask Jesus into your heart.” While opinions may be important, the one vital thing when speaking of becoming a Christian is what does God say about this in His Word?

 

God has given His Word – the Bible – to reveal Himself, His purpose for man, and the way to know Him personally. Everything a person needs to know about becoming a Christian can be found in God’s Word. As God gives a person understanding of the gospel (the good news of how God, in Christ has provided salvation for man), then that person can come to the point of genuine faith in Jesus Christ and, consequently, become a Christian.

 

Who is God any way?

 

Unless a person has a basic understanding of God, then his understanding of the gospel will be faulty and unbalanced. The Bible tells us that God is One, yet He reveals Himself to us in Three Persons. This is called the Trinity. Hear, 0 Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!

 

(Deuteronomy 6:4). Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18; see also John 5:17-27 where Jesus, the Son, shows His equality with the Father and John 14:16-17 where Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit being another which means “another of the same kind,” that is, totally equal with the Son and Father). God is not three Gods, but one God who has revealed Himself in three Persons who are equal in character, glory, and power: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), God the Holy Spirit. What is God like? God is Spirit. When Jesus was teaching a woman about God and how to worship Him, He made this statement: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

 

God is spirit describes God’s essence, that is, Who He is. As spirit, God is far above man who is limited by hands, feet, and all the other aspects of humanity. As spirit, God cannot be worshipped by any form of idols (Exodus 20:4-6), nor can He be subject to decay, or loss, or corruption, or any other thing that afflicts man.

 

God is the purest, simplest, most basic Being in the universe, that is why He said, You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

 

 

What does God demand of me?

 

God is righteous and just. Everything God does is absolutely right and proper. He never makes an assumption or an unjust accusation toward man. His righteousness and justice has its roots in His holiness. Because God is holy, He therefore can only do that which is right. His actions toward mankind are just and righteous. He never carries out any act toward man that is not first rooted in His holy character. His perfection is seen in His acts of righteousness and justice. The Psalmist writes, God is a righteous judge…. and the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge (Psalms 7:11; 50:6). God’s justice is described in Exodus 34:7, …yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…. God’s righteousness and justice demand that He deal with sin and disobedience. For God to overlook such unholy acts would be to negate His righteousness, which is impossible to do.

 

 

Who prays for you?

 

Remember the words from the Apostle Paul to the overseers in Philippi?

 

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel … being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:3-6).

And again, to the brothers in Christ at Colossae:

 

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you … we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:3,10). The saints of God should always pray one for the other.

 

 

Is The Sinner’s Prayer Essential To Salvation

 

Gospel presentations often conclude with a prayer. You may have heard it called the “sinner’s prayer.” In that prayer, the person trusting Christ acknowledges he is a sinner placing his faith in Christ to save him. Some prayers have clearer terminology than others. The question is, “Is that prayer essential to salvation?”

 

Let’s back up. What did Christ accomplish on the cross? He satisfied the wrath of a holy God against our sin. As he died as our substitute, he declared, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Through his death and resurrection, he paid for all the wrongs we have done. Our sin account was paid in full. That is why God can now extend eternal life as a gift – completely free of charge. Christ did not make the down payment for our sins. He made the full payment.

A gift, though, can be rejected or received. So how does one receive the gift of eternal life?

 

The answer to that question can be found in the book God specifically wrote to tell us how to receive eternal life – the book of John. We are told in John 20:31, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Ninety-eight times in the book of John, the word “believe” is used. John 1:12 reads, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John’s best known verse reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

 

The word “believe” means to trust. Acknowledging that I am a sinner, I must come to God recognizing that his son took the punishment for my sins and rose again, and trust in Christ alone to save me. A person who deeply impacted my life with the clarity of the Gospel said, “The message behind the Gospel is: ‘Be satisfied with the thing that satisfies God.’” Only when I am satisfied that his Son’s death and that death alone accomplished my salvation, am I eternally his. I acknowledge to God, “If you cannot take me to heaven, I am going to hell. You and you alone are my only way to eternal life.” At that second, we are as certain of heaven as though we are already there. Eternal life begins at that moment and will culminate in his presence. Jesus’ promise was, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

 

So what part does saying a prayer have to do with salvation? Absolutely nothing. We are not saved by saying a prayer. We are saved by trusting Christ. That’s why Christ could look at the thief on the cross and say, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Nothing is ever said of the thief “saying a prayer”. There on the cross as he hung alongside of the Savior of the world, he believed in Christ as his Savior. Hence Christ said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today, you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

 

That does not mean saying a prayer at the moment one comes to Christ is wrong. Such a prayer has two advantages. One is that it cements in the person’s mind what he is doing (and probably did at least 30 seconds before he prayed) – trusting Christ. Secondly, having verbalized it to God, such a prayer encourages one to verbalize it to others. God does not need to be informed. He is fully aware of what the person doing – trusting Christ. But having expressed his decision to God encourages the new convert to now express it to others.

 

Several things are important, though. One is that in leading people to Christ, we need to make clear that saying a prayer does not save. Explain to them that it is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is only how they tell God what they are doing.

 

Also, it is important not to confuse the Gospel or a clear presentation of it with an unclear prayer. Here’s the kind of prayer to use.

 

Dear God, I come to you now. I know I’m a sinner. Nothing I do makes me deserving of heaven. I now understand Jesus Christ died for me. He took my place and punishment and rose again. Right now I place my trust in Christ alone to save me. Thank you for the gift of eternal life I just received. In Jesus name, amen.

 

The “sinner’s prayer” is not essential to salvation. Trusting Christ saves. If you use a prayer in leading people to Christ, make certain you use it in a way that enhances and not confuses their understanding of salvation.

 

by Dr. Larry Moyer

President/CEO

EvanTell, Inc.

 

Dr. Moyer is President and CEO of Evantell, Inc. You are invited to visit Dr. Moyer’s new blog, Evangelism.net, for free evangelism articles and podcasts.

 

What Are Some of the Changing Beliefs About the Bible?

 

According to a new research report released this week by the Barna Group, attitudes about and usage of the Bible vary significantly according to age group. For the purposes of the study, Barna defined the Mosaic generation as those who are 18 to 25, Busters as those who are 26 to 44, Boomers as those who are 45 to 63 and Elders as 64 and older.

 

Barna discovered differences in perception about the Bible, based on age, in the following six general areas:

 

1. Less Sacred. The majority of Americans (84%) see the Bible as sacred, with 90 percent of Elders and only 67 percent of Mosaics having that opinion.

2. Less Accurate. While 58 percent of Elders and 46 percent of Boomers believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches, only 30 percent of Mosaics embrace this view.

3. More Universalism. Fifty-six percent of Mosaics agree that the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon all offer the same spiritual truths, compared to 33 percent of Elders.

4. Skepticism of Origins. Mosaics and Busters are more likely to be skeptical about the original manuscripts than Boomers and Elders.

5. Less Engagement. The younger the person, the less likely they are to read the Bible on a regular basis.

6. Bible Appetite. In a departure from the other trends of the study, 19 percent of Mosaics said they would like to increase their knowledge of the Bible while only 12 percent of Boomers and 9 percent of Elders made a similar claim.

 

The research was based on five separate studies conducted between 2006 and 2009.

 

One of the best movies seeks to address this question, albeit for a fireman, not a pastor. But the principles are applicable to those in ministry, maybe even more so than for firemen. Ministry is known to be very harsh on marriages and family relationships. The solution all begins at the source of the problem. In most cases, it is because something very important that was once part of the relationship has diminished or been ignored for too long.

 

In the excellent book, Love and Respect, former pastor Dr. Emerson Eggerichs discusses the foundation of his marital philosophy and counseling, as well as the primary message of the Love and Respect Marriage Conferences he leads along with his wife Sarah. He talks about what he calls the Crazy Cycle, through which we all tend to travel in our marital relationships. It is based on the realization that “wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love.” Many husbands fail to deliver, says Dr. Eggerichs.

 

Meanwhile, “husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect.” And many wives fail to deliver. These statements really resonate with me. Even at its simplest level, understanding this truth will help you with your spouse.

 

In the movie, Fireproof, the husband uses a little book he receives from his father called The Love Dare. While this book was fictional in the movie, a subsequent demand for it led the producers of the movie to develop a real book. The concept here is to spend 40 days committed to simple steps that build love and respect. For example, the first day’s challenge is to “resolve to demonstrate patience and say nothing negative to your spouse at all.” The next day is to continue that resolve and also “do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.” Gradually, the acts of love become deeper and more expressive.

 

Essentially, the process of drawing close to your spouse again begins with small steps — a kind word, some unexpected help with a chore, a tender touch on the shoulder. These little things begin to build the foundation to a relationship of love and respect. They are later expressed through more time together, enjoying one another’s company as you did when you were dating. Start dating again regularly. Make time with each other a priority in your schedules.

 

There are many books, conferences and other resources that will give you formulas and plans for rebuilding your relationship, but it must start with one of you taking small unconditional steps. Remember, as Ephesians exhorts us, treat one another the way Christ would treat us. Be Christ to your spouse, without expectation of a reward or reaction. Do it and be it simply because He would. Just be Christ. – DAD

 

 

What is the State of Marriage and Divorce?

 

A new report from Pew Research Center® — the 2008 American Community Survey — offers the most detailed portrait yet from the U.S. Census Bureau of marriage and divorce statistics at the state level.

 

Results from the report show that, in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young — half of first-time brides in these states were age 24 or younger on their wedding day. Results also revealed that these states have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008, as well.

 

However, in Massachusetts and New York, their residents marry late — half of ever-married New York men were older than age 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.

 

About 6 percent of Texans who have ever been married have wed three times or more. That is similar to the national average (5%), but well below the leaders in this category — the neighboring states of Arkansas and Oklahoma — where about 10 percent of all ever-married adults have had at least three spouses. In New York and Massachusetts, just 2 percent of ever-married adults have been married at least three times, placing them at the bottom on this measure among the 50 states.

 

Several states in the Midwest and Mountain regions have among the highest shares of men and women who are currently married. In Idaho, 58 percent of men and 56 percent of women live with a spouse. In Iowa, 56 percent of men and 53 percent of women do. In Utah, 56 percent of both men and women are currently married. At the opposite end, only 47 percent of men in Alaska are currently married, as are 48 percent of women in that state. In Rhode Island and New Mexico, 48 percent of men are married. Among women in Rhode Island and New York, 43 percent are.

 

Looking at divorced adults, 13 percent of Nevada’s men and 16 percent of its women fit in that category, as do 12 percent of Maine’s men and 15 percent of its women. They are among the states with the largest shares of currently divorced residents, a distinction they share with Oklahoma.

The number of divorces within the previous 12 months per 1,000 women tends to be high in states where women marry young, such as Oklahoma and Idaho. But, the same link is not as strong for men: Alaska and Wyoming, for example, are among the top states for recently divorced men, but they are not states where men marry especially young. Go to PewResearch.org for the full report.

 

 

I don’t feel as close to my spouse as I used to.

 

One of the best movies seeks to address this question, albeit for a fireman, not a pastor. But the principles are applicable to those in ministry, maybe even more so than for firemen.

 

Ministry is known to be very harsh on marriages and family relationships. The solution all begins at the source of the problem. In most cases, it is because something very important that was once part of the relationship has diminished or been ignored for too long.

 

In the excellent book, Love and Respect, former pastor Dr. Emerson Eggerichs discusses the foundation of his marital philosophy and counseling, as well as the primary message of the Love and Respect Marriage Conferences he leads along with his wife Sarah. He talks about what he calls the Crazy Cycle, through which we all tend to travel in our marital relationships. It is based on the realization that “wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love.” Many husbands fail to deliver, says Dr. Eggerichs. Meanwhile, “husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect.” And many wives fail to deliver. These statements really resonate with me. Even at its simplest level, understanding this truth will help you with your spouse.

 

In the movie, Fireproof, the husband uses a little book he receives from his father called The Love Dare. While this book was fictional in the movie, a subsequent demand for it led the producers of the movie to develop a real book. The concept here is to spend 40 days committed to simple steps that build love and respect. For example, the first day’s challenge is to “resolve to demonstrate patience and say nothing negative to your spouse at all.” The next day is to continue that resolve and also “do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.” Gradually, the acts of love become deeper and more expressive.

 

Essentially, the process of drawing close to your spouse again begins with small steps — a kind word, some unexpected help with a chore, a tender touch on the shoulder. These little things begin to build the foundation to a relationship of love and respect. They are later expressed through more time together, enjoying one another’s company as you did when you were dating. Start dating again regularly. Make time with each other a priority in your schedules.

 

There are many books, conferences and other resources that will give you formulas and plans for rebuilding your relationship, but it must start with one of you taking small unconditional steps. Remember, as Ephesians exhorts us, treat one another the way Christ would treat us. Be Christ to your spouse, without expectation of a reward or reaction. Do it and be it simply because He would. Just be Christ. – DAD

 

 

Did You Know More Schools Are Accepting the Bible?

 

According to a press release from the Bible Literacy Project, more than 350 public schools in 43 states will be using their textbook, “The Bible and Its Influence,” as the new school year begins. In Texas alone, over 50 public schools will be teaching the course.

 

Another textbook, “The Bible in History and Literature,” published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, is being used in 508 school districts (2,015 high schools) in 38 states.

 

For more information about these resources that allow the Bible to be taught as history and literature in public schools, go to Bible Literacy Project and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.

  • Church Info

    Mount Calvary Rome Baptist Church

    203 Erie Blvd East
    Rome, NY    13440
    (315) 337-0674
    mtcalvary11@yahoo.com
     
     
    Click here for directions
     

    Sunday Services

    Sunday School 9:30 AM
    Worship 11:00 AM
    Children’s Church 11:00 AM
    Baptism – First Sunday
    Communion – First Sunday

    Wednesday Services

    Prayer Meeting 7:00 PM
    Bible Study 7:30 PM

    Pastor

    Reverend Tommy Ray Jackson, Sr.

    Pastor: Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

    Moderator, Northeastern District Baptist Association

     

    Rev. Tommy Ray Jackson, Sr., has been our pastor since March 1990. Under his leadership and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Mt.Calvary has made substantial progress in every facet of church life. Several new ministries have been added. In 1990, he successfully spearheaded and consummated a successful building fund drive, in spite of the additional demands on his time as Moderator of the Northeastern District Baptist Association. In November of 1999 the church was able to begin construction of a new sanctuary, educational wings, administrative offices, pastor’s study and living quarters.

    On Sunday, December 3, 2000 Mt.Calvary held its inaugural celebration with family and friends in a most blessed Dedication and March-In Service. Following the construction of the new sanctuary, the old sanctuary was converted into the new fellowship hall.

    Rev. Tommy Ray Jackson, Sr. is a 1964 graduate of M.F. Nichols High School in Biloxi, Mississippi. He received an Associate Degree in Math from Mary Holmes Junior College in 1966 and a graduate of Southern University with a BA in Math in 1969.  Rev. Jackson attended Union College Graduate School in pursuit of a Master’s in Math and he attended University College of Syracuse University for his ‘MBA’ 1972.

    In the fall of 1962 he received the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Biloxi, MS. He received his license to preach the gospel Dec. 18, 1988 and was ordained as a minister Oct. 27, 1989 and he has been tirelessly preaching the gospel and working for the Lord ever since. In 1990, Rev. Jackson received from Rochester-Colgate Divinity School a Certificate for Black Church Studies.

    Among his many accomplishments, he has served as General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary of the Northeastern District Baptist Association (10/1990 – 10/1991); Moderator – Northeastern District Baptist Association (10/1997 – 10/2006); he has served as a Trustee: 63-65 LLC, Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York, Inc. (5/2003 – 10/2011); . Vice President, Area 8 of the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York, Inc. (5/2003 – 10/2011). He is currently serving as Chaplain of the Historical Black Ministerial Alliance (2004 – present); and he was re-elected Moderator of the Northeastern District Baptist Association 10/2012.

    Our pastor is the organizer and chair of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Service of Rome, NY that is held annually on the Sunday preceding Rev. Dr. King’s birthday. He is also the organizer and founder of the ‘Voices for Christ City–Wide Crusade Ministry’. It was established in 2009 for the expressed purpose of reaching lost souls for Christ, especially our youth.

    He is married to his high school sweetheart and bride of 41 years, Sister Sandra N. Jackson and they are the proud parents of five sons: Tommy, Carnell, Paul Anthony Walker, John Jamaal, and Jommore. To God Be The Glory!

  • Bible Verse of the Day

    “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
    — Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)
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